Poll: Stem Cell Use Gains Support

KEY WEST, July 5 - Dave Price poses with two of Key West's finest including Kurt Stephens, center, winner of this year's first "Great American Vacation" getaway contest. CBS

Most Americans approve of using embryonic stem cells in medical research (although white evangelical Christians and conservatives are more likely to oppose it), and support for it has grown since last year. Comparatively fewer Americans support expanding the number of stem cell lines available for federally funded research, although the percentage that does has not changed since last year.

58% of Americans approve of medical research using embryonic stem cells, while 31% disapprove. Approval is higher now than it was last August; then, 50% approved and 31% disapproved, but 19% had no opinion.


EMBRYONIC STEM CELL RESEARCH


Now
Approve
58%
Disapprove
31%

8/2004
Approve
50%
Disapprove
31%

Republicans are less likely than Democrats to approve of it, although half do. Approval of stem cell research among Republicans has risen significantly since last year; then, 37% approved of it, now 50% do. Approval has risen among Democrats as well, although less dramatically, from 57% to 65% now.

There is little variation in views by demographic factors such as age or gender, although those with less education are more likely to have no opinion.

Attitudes toward stem cell research do vary depending on some measures of religion, and conservatives oppose it by 41% to 45%. White evangelical Christians oppose it by 53% to 36%, as do those who attend religious services every week, by 49% to 39%.

EMBRYONIC STEM CELL RESEARCH

All
Approve
58%
Disapprove
31%

Conservatives
Approve
41%
Disapprove
45%

White Evangelical
Approve
36%
Disapprove
53%

Attend services weekly
Approve
39%
Disapprove
49%

Less than two in five Americans support extending federal funding for stem cell research to a larger number of lines; this has not changed since last year. 37% think the number of stem cell lines covered by government funds should be extended; 17% think the current level is sufficient. Those percentages are nearly identical to views last August.

EXTEND FEDERAL FUNDING OF STEM CELL RESEARCH TO MORE LINES?

Now
Yes
37%
No
17%
Disapprove of stem cell research
31%

8/2004
Yes
33%
No
13%
Disapprove of stem cell research
31%


For detailed information on how CBS News conducts public opinion surveys, click here.

This poll was conducted among a nationwide random sample of 938 adults, interviewed by telephone May 20-23, 2005. The error due to sampling could be plus or minus three percentage points for results based on all adults. Error for subgroups is higher.
  • Joel Roberts

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